The city of Shimonoseki located in Yamaguchi Prefecture is a major fishing port bearing the nickname of “Fugu Capital.” This is because the city is responsible for supplying 80% of Japan’s puffer fish demand.
The downtown area of Shimonoseki is known as Karato. It is considered to be the most famous sightseeing spot in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
Along the waterfront of Shimonoseki, right next to the Kaikyokan Aquarium, you will find the Karato Fish Market. The original market has been operating in this area since 1933, but the current structure was built in 2001. The roof of the market is rather unusual, in that it is covered with grass.
During the early hours, Karato is a busy wholesale market, which is transformed as the day progresses into a crowded retail market frequented by tourists. All kinds of seafood delicacies are available for purchase and consumption.
Entrance to Karato Fish Market is free of charge and parking spaces are plentiful.
When you have satisfied your curiosity at the fish market, you can make your way to the Kanmon Wharf, a seaside mall, which is home to all kinds of restaurants and shops. You can stroll along the boardwalk and view the boats coming and going on Kanmon Channel or stop off at the Kaikyokan, the Shimonoseki Marine Science Museum (http://www.kaikyokan.com/english/admission.php).
Either way, there is plenty to enjoy in this charming seaside city.
The fish market is open from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on weekdays and Saturdays, 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Sundays and holidays. It is closed two Wednesdays out of the month, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and August 13 to 15, so plan accordingly.
Photo credits: Rocky Andoh